The Obamas are already burdened by the baggage of cultural expectations, but I’ll go ahead and add another sack to their load: Here’s hoping their presence on the national stage will erase that sixth-grader’s wrongheaded notion. Marriage is an equal-opportunity institution, no matter color, creed or sexual orientation.
“I was really excited when I saw the Obama family on the [TV] screen [on Nov. 4] because I meet so many young African-Americans who, frankly, have never seen an intact family like this,” said Leah Ward Sears, chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court and a board member of the Institute for American Values, which promotes marriage. “I’m hopeful [the Obamas] will be a brand-new model of what the ideal is, even if many, many of us will fall short of the ideal,” she added.
As if the Obamas have a choice.
By the time US, People, Life, Redbook, O, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Essence get done buffing up the Obama marriage, it will rank right up there with JFK and Jackie among the most famous marriages of all time.
Let's face it. Reality is reality, marketing is marketing, and women's magazines and morning network shows haven't been able to sell the Bush family as "America's Family" for years. When the media looks at the Obama family, they see "star quality," i. e., models who can deliver higher ratings, more circulation, bigger advertising rates, and more profits.
"There's gold in them there Obamas."
If the family media has their way, we'll know all about how Barack and Michelle met, the little secrets that allow them to keep their love alive, how they raise their children in the White House pressure cooker and what the girls think about boys. The President and Michell Obama will have the model marriage. The kids will be the model children and everything will be lovely in the gauzy sugar plum castles created by the art directors at the various media outlets.
By the time a profit-hungry media is done with the Obamas, the Obama marriage will be bigger than Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, bigger than Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, bigger than Ozzie and Harriet, and bigger than King Arthur and Guinevere.
"Guinevere had green eyes, like yours my lady like yours."
Actually, the question isn't whether Barack and Michelle Obama will be role models, the question is whether they will serve as symbolic father and mother to the country. I can see Obama in that role. He's certainly preachy enough in a good, responsible kind of way. Whether the media is going to promote that is another question though.